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First French company to grow medical cannabis starts R&D production

Just 6 months after obtaining the approval of ANSM (French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) and having raised 2.5 million euros [2.52 million USD], the biotech company Overseed has launched its R&D program for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. Overseed is now the first French company to grow this plant for medical purposes in France. 

Authorized to conduct research on cannabis for therapeutic purposes in France for the first time and meeting the highest requirement levels of the health industry, Overseed started the first agronomic phase of phenotyping of these plants two months ago.

The goal is to select the plants with the exact agronomic criteria and phytochemical profiles that will guarantee a stable production and varieties that are reliable for therapeutic use.

Then, the production of these varieties will be tested in a controlled climate to ensure the stability and homogeneity of the plants. This repetition of the results on a larger scale will ensure the validation of the pharmaceutical products.

These first seedlings are the result of a first R&D program in France, which should be completed in 2023 when therapeutic cannabis is expected to become widely available in France.

By the end of 2022, the scientific teams of Overseed plan to select 5 varieties of plants that meet the requirements to begin the "pharmaceutic run" phase. The process of isolating and extracting the active ingredients from the cannabis plant will then help to develop new medicines that meet the ANSM specifications. Overseed will develop its extracts with Stanipharm CDMO, a company that is an expert in the production of active ingredients, especially by supercritical CO2 extraction.

"We are very excited to start this complex agronomic and scientific process, which is crucial for future drug development. In the coming months, our experts in genetics and cultivation techniques will be fully invested in bringing the full potential of this plant to medical research and to our partners," explains Hugues Péribère, founder and CEO of Overseed. 

"It is also a step forward for the French pharmaceutical industry, its sovereignty, and its ability to respond to the many medical uses of cannabis. With this project, we are bringing together the best French experts to create an innovative and efficient value chain in France. The next few months will be devoted to finding partners in laboratories and distributors."

A medical treasure to explore 

Each variety of cannabis corresponds to a drug with nearly 140 active ingredients that have been identified. Therapeutic cannabis, therefore, covers a wide spectrum of medical applications, many of which still remain to be discovered. The pathologies referenced by ANSM and affecting about 2.3 million patients in France (CSST-2018) include neuropathic pain, intractable symptoms related to cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and the central nervous system.

There is also ongoing research on future treatments for asthma, psychiatric syndromes, Alzheimer's, or anorexia, which together represent millions of potential patients in France (International Association for Medical Cannabis-2018). Many applications are already recognized abroad (Parkinson, endometriosis, fight against depression and addictions, Crohn's disease...). 

Reminder of the challenges of the therapeutic cannabis market

  • France could be the first European market.
  • It is already available in 45 countries worldwide, including 23 in Europe.
  • Since the first half of 2021, there has been an ongoing experiment on nearly 3,000 patients.
  • April 2023: expected deadline for the generalization of the medicines to patients in France. 

Overseed is a founding member of the Santé France Cannabis syndicate and a member of PolePharma, Agreen Tech Valley, and Cosmetic Valley.

About Overseed

Overseed is a French biotechnological company that combines skills in genetics, agronomy, natural substance chemistry, and pharmaceuticals in order to master the production of therapeutic cannabis. The ambition of Overseed is to access the research on cannabinoids for medical usage and to provide dried flowers, full-spectrum extracts, and purified active ingredients of pharmaceutical quality to laboratories. Overseed's research and experimentation provide an answer to the expectations of the patients and the health industry to guarantee the sovereignty of the production, close collaborations, and products with certified quality, directly linked to the expression of medical and scientific studies. Overseed was founded in 2020 by Hugues Péribère, an agricultural engineer with over 20 years of experience in the development of innovative crops. He works together with Manon Trinel (R&D director and agronomist with a doctorate in natural substance chemistry), scientific advisors, and partner companies recognized within the pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic industry.

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